Relieving Digestive Complaints: The Ayurveda’s Take on Tackling IBS

During my holiday in Italy I had the pleasure to read the Deepak Chopra’s book ‘Perfect Digestion’.
In this blog I’m sharing some of the instructions covered in the book on how to strengthen digestion, when experiencing digestive issues such as IBS:

• Eat in a settled and quiet atmosphere
• Take a few minutes to rest quietly after your meal
• Always sit down to eat
• Don’t eat when you are upset
• Don’t eat when you are not hungry
• Avoid overeating – One should eat 3/4 of his stomach’s capacity, which gives feeling of satisfaction without any sensation of having overeaten
• Avoid cold foods and cold drinks
• Don’t talk while chewing food
• Eat at a moderate pace
• Do not eat until the preceding meal has been digested
• Favour meals with freshly cooked foods – Although many people believe that raw foods are a good source of dietary fibre, the Ayurveda tradition points out that raw foods are harder to digest and are more likely to irritate the colon. A certain amount of raw food, such as salad, are fine to include with diet

• Avoid eating milk, cream and butter until the IBS symptoms are in control – that said Ghee is soothing to digestion, if taken in small quantities.
• Ayurveda recommends avoiding cucumbers, green leafy vegetables such as spinach and kale, sprouts of any sort, and grapes as they can trigger IBS
• Coffee, tea, chocolates should be avoided
• Carbonates beverages of any sort should also be avoided
• Pomegranate and Lassi can be good for diarrhoea associated with IBS

• During meals, heavier food should be eaten earlier than lighter foods
• The following aromas can be good in the treatment of IBS: basil, orange, clove, sandalwood, rose, mint, and cinnamon
• Lunch should be the heaviest meal of the day and should be consumed around 12:00- 12:30pm
• Breakfast is not necessary according to the Ayurveda tradition. If you cannot do without it, it should be light like milk and cereal
• Dinnertime has fewer digestive powers than lunch time, therefore dinner should be a lighter meal . Examples of foods to consume are hot soup and bread, hot cereals and assorted vegetables.

The book also recommends to follow the Ayurvedic daily routine:

5.30am – 12 noon

□ Wake up anytime between 5.30am and 6am
□ Take warm water
□ Urinate and bowel movement
□ Brush teeth
□ Breathing meditation (15-20mn)
□ Exercise
□ Shower using warm water, neither hot or cold
□ Light breakfast (if needed)
□ 30-minute morning walk

12 noon – 6pm

□ Lunch at 12 noon
□ Few minutes rest after lunch
□ 5-15 mins walk in the afternoon
□ Breathing meditation in late afternoon or early evening (15-20mn)

6pm – 10pm

□ Moderate dinner by 6pm
□ Few minutes rest after dinner
□ 5-15 mins of walk after dinner
□ Bedtime between 9.30 and 10pm.

Other tips to relieve IBS:

  • One day each week try to be on a liquid diet
  • Sip hot water every 30 minutes (The water should be hot, that one has to blow air to sip it in) – The quantity of water is not important, the frequency is
  • During meals dessert should be taken first as well as any other sweet foods
  • Heavier dishes should be consumed first and lighter dishes such as salad should be taken last

  • Emotions have a significant impact on the outset of IBS and other digestive complaints. When you feel upset, pause for a moment and allow your attention to settle on the sensations occurring in your body. If you close your eyes for a few seconds, your mind will immediately be attracted to some specific physiological manifestations, perhaps your stomach or heart. Just allow for those sensations to be there for few minutes. Gradually you will discover that the physical sensation begins to vanish. When you open your eyes, you will find that the emotional component has also diminished
  • Perform exercise before 10am and moderately for 7 days a week. Do not overexercise· The Ayurvedic principal is not “no pain, no gain” but “no strain produces maximum gain”. Find a type of exercise that you enjoy and do not strain or exhaust yourself.

Deepak Chopra is an Indian-American author and alternative medicine advocate. A prominent figure in the New Age movement, his books and videos have made him one of the best-known and wealthiest figures in alternative medicine.